• Tony Bosworth

Getting the service you expect from Council? – Let’s find out, and then tell everyone, says Mayor

At tonight’s council meeting, Mayor Patrick Conolly gathered unanimous support – a rarity in this council term – for a briefing session to look at how best to discover if the council is meeting residents’ expectations.

“The idea is reporting in a more open and transparent way to see that we are focussed in our interactions with the public,” Mayor Conolly said.

The plan is ultimately to provide a quarterly report to be placed on Council’s website which would show how the organisation is performing.

This meeting got the ball rolling with an agreement to hold a briefing session of councillors and staff to work out a way to produce a satisfaction report.

It’s also possible in the future Hawkesbury Council could publicly rank and compare itself against other councils in an effort to show how our council is performing compared with others.

The Mayor brought the issue up through his Mayoral Minute which is a device allowing him to essentially bring up any subject he wants.

In one of the shortest council meetings we have ever seen, this was the main subject – most of the other issues were held in Confidential session and related to property and internal council.

Cllr Conolly said since becoming Mayor he had received a lot of feedback about peoples’ experiences with council.

“We are focussed on making it easier to deal with us,” said the Mayor.

Cllr Amanda Kotlash said, “it’s a terrific idea, if it improves our systems then I’m very glad for it to happen.”

Cllr Sarah Richards said she wholeheartedly supported the initiative.

“This is something this council definitely needs to do,” she said. “It’s something that should have been done a long time ago.

“We have very hard working staff but there are certainly times as councillors we get contacted, so having proper formal statistics to support us, that is the way to go.”

Cllr Nathan Zamprogno brought up the desire and opportunity to compare Hawkesbury with other councils.

“I wonder whether it would be better to include wording that gets us to compare our costumer service responsivness to other councils, so we can work out if we are doing as well as our peers,” said Cllr Zamprogno.

Deputy Mayor Mary Lyons–Buckett said there would need to be quite a lot of work around the idea and it was important the final format was one the public could easily understand, but she agreed with the principle.

“This has to be compared with the work and effort of other councils,” Cllr Pete Reynolds said. “I do think this is a good idea. It’s surprising it’s coming out only months before the election after a five month term, but I will support it.”

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